Qataris continue to decry Western media coverage of the country during the World Cup

Edy Zoo
Qatar continues its fight against its negative image across the world.Photo byPhoto by Lara Jameson

Celebrities and social luminaries continue voicing their contempt for Qatar as it hosts the World Cup games. Their indictment has haunted the country for the past 20 years. Namely, Qatar is accused of human rights violations.

In the past, Qatar has experienced an authoritarian monarchy that has criminalized homosexuality and has abused migrant workers. According to Amnesty International, Qatar has

failed to implement and enforce reforms, enabling abusive practices to resurface and reviving the worst elements of kafala (the sponsorship-based employment system)... Authorities continued to curtail freedom of expression using abusive laws to stifle critical voices... Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice... "Sodomy" or same-sex sexual conduct between men remained an offence under the Penal Code, punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment."

As a result of these allegations, Western personalities have boycotted the games simply by not attending or participating in opening events.

Alongside celebrities, Western media coverage has formed a choir of 15,000 reporters who have descended on the country, according to a report by the New York Times. These reporters have gone on to convey biased statements, which have been redacted later.

For example,

The Times of London wrote, 'The Qataris are unaccustomed to seeing women in Western dress in their country….' (In fact, foreign residents make up more than 85 percent of the population of Qatar, and women wearing jeans or short dresses are relatively common, unlike in neighboring Saudi Arabia.)."

reported The New York Times.

Of course, there is documentation that Qatar has imposed draconian regulations and laws against homosexuals and migrant workers. That goes without saying, and Qataris do not refute this. Their point of contention is that other Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have done far worse. Yet, celebrities and the media do not condemn their crimes against humanity.

Consider how singer Rod Stewart was offered more than $1 million to perform in Qatar. And consider how he turned it down, telling The Sunday Times of London that "it's not right to go." Similarly, contemplate how Mr. Stewart voiced no concerns in 2010 or 2017 when he performed in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. These are countries with a parallel record to that of Qatar when it comes to human rights. Why the noticeable duplicity from Mr. Stewart?

This question disturbs Qataris as they continue to read headlines and articles detailing the horrors that occur in the country. Qatar is a quiet country on the world stage. It is nestled between Islamic superpowers Iran and Saudi Arabia. As a result, they live inaudibly under the shadows of those two nations.

By hosting the World Cup, Qatar wants to flex its cultural and monetary power. Here is a nation that is prosperous thanks to its natural gas resources. And since it has this vast wealth, it no longer wants to be the small brother to Iran or Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, Qataris wish to "turn the once-obscure country into a prominent global player…," reports the New York Times.

However, they don't think that's possible when a witch-hunt is set loose on their country. And, of course, Qatar has to answer for its unjust pursuit and damages against homosexuals and migrants. Yet are they unfairly targeted by celebrities and Western media? Qataris answer yes.

What are your thoughts? Should celebrities and Western media continue to accuse Qatar of human rights crimes while ignoring the same issues in Saudi Arabia? Comment and let me know.

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Edy Zoo is an author who writes about social subjects. He contributes to the ever-growing library of social critics. He approaches local social subjects and local news covering Auburn-Opelika and surrounding cities from an objective point of view. He also holds liberal views.

Auburn, AL

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